East Central District Wants YOU!

By Chris Kemper, APR, ECD Board

Time is tight.

Your to-do list just grew tenfold. The boss gave you an assignment with an absurd deadline. And that project that was on the back burner just moved to the front burner – and you must act before it rolls onto the kitchen floor.

We all know there’s no such thing as a typical day, but I’m sure we all deal with such pressures on a frequent basis. One way to alleviate this pressure is to know the needs and priorities of your audience, customers and stakeholders.

Your East Central District wants to do the same. Our annual survey is live, and we want to hear from you! Your input will be invaluable as we continue to shape our work to support you — the chapters and chapter leaders within our district.

Oh, and because I know time is a valuable resource, by completing the survey you will be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card!

The survey closes on Friday, Aug. 31. It can be found at

Thank you for adding your voice to the District’s work!

Chris Kemper, APR, is a member of the Cincinnati Chapter. 


A Collaborative Statement on the Essential Value of a Free Press

The statement below was released Aug. 16 by PRSA, the PRSA Foundation and eight other professional communication organizations to collaboratively express our support for the critical role of a free press and the First Amendment. With the unanimous support of your Board of Directors and staff leadership, it was done in concert with more than 200 newspapers across the U.S. who are today voicing, in their own ways, that ethical journalism, and freedom of thought and expression, are perpetually essential to democracy.

In today’s political climate, there will inevitably be charges that this statement reflects a political stance or bias. It does not. Rather, it affirms the U.S. Constitution and the values that transcend political parties and other affiliations; in fact, the statement is co-signed by the Global Alliance and other organizations with significant international representation that also subscribe to those values.

In that spirit, please feel free to add your voice to a monumentally important conversation.

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”                

~ Thomas Jefferson

This oft-cited quote conveys the fundamental importance of today’s free press despite its articulation before electronic, digital and social media were invented. The dramatic expression by a founding father who was brutally criticized by the media of his time underscores that the standing of a free press transcends politics, geographies or other affiliations.

Today, we join with our compatriots in the news media to proudly affirm the Fourth Estate as a vital engine of democracy. Without it, and without freedom of thought and expression as provided by the First Amendment, informed decision-making is not possible and individual freedoms suffer. From a global perspective, journalism serves all people through ethical pursuit of the truth.

To read the remainder of this statement from Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2018 National Chair please click through to PRSA here. 


Mentor at ICON

Connect, ask and benefit from a lifetime of experience: College of Fellows Mentoring at the PRSA 2017 International Conference

Make the most of your PRSA 2017 International Conference connections, share your experiences and career goals with a member of PRSA’s College of Fellows, a distinguished group of accredited PRSA members with more than 20 years of professional experience.

The College of Fellows hosts 30-minute mentoring sessions from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, and Monday, Oct. 9. Sessions are offered as a premium benefit (at no cost) for PRSA members.

These one-on-one professional development sessions are available to PR practitioners at all stages of their careers:

  • New professionals (career planning and advancement)
  • Mid-career (business skills and leadership)
  • Senior professionals (personal growth and development)
  • Your mentor will:
  • Provide professional, confidential insights based on extensive experience in the practice of public relations
  • Make creative, yet proven suggestions for handling public relations challenges
  • Offer encouragement and assurance
  • Provide a fresh perspective on your career goals and timelinesSign-up deadline Thursday, Sept. 28.
  • Sign-up form available at

Tri-Play Offer

2017 Fall “Triple Play” Offer

New members who join PRSA at the $255 membership level by November 30 receive a complimentary Chapter membership**, a complimentary Section membership**, and the waived $65 initiation fee.

**RESTRICTIONS: If joining Counselors Academy, dues are $100 ($95 discount).  Chapter dues are covered up to $100. This offer is not available for Associate member types ($200 or less annual dues) and is not available to current or renewing members. Please click here for details.

Timeframe: Through November 30, 2017

Cost: $255

Promo Code: FALL17



The PRSA Board of Directors elected 11 practitioners for the College of Fellows Class of 2017, two of whom are from the East Central District.

Please welcome these new Fellows from the East Central District:
Barbara Paynter, APR, Fellow PRSA, President, Paynter Communications LLC, Greater Cleveland Chapter
Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, Fellow PRSA, Manager, Global Employee Communications, Eli Lilly and Company, Hoosier Chapter

Other new Fellows are:
Loring Barnes, APR, Fellow PRSA, CCO/Managing Principal, Clarity
Joseph A. Brennan, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Vice President of Communications and Marketing and Clinical Professor of Business, University at Albany – SUNY
Dotti Gallagher, APR, Fellow PRSA, Principal, Dotti Gallagher Consulting
Kevin Gaydosh, APR, Fellow PRSA, Director of Public Relations/Strategic Planner, O’Brien et al Advertising
Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA, Communications Director, Washington Employment Security Department
David Hakensen, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Vice President, FleishmanHillard
Nancy J. Sterling, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications, ML Strategies, LLC
Kaye D. Sweetser, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, Professor, San Diego State University
Mary Beth West, APR, Fellow PRSA, Principal, Mary Beth West Communications, Inc.

They will be inducted on Oct. 7, 2017 in Boston during ICON.


In Memoriam

W. Thomas “Tom” Duke, APR, Fellow PRSA, the East Central District’s 2013 Platinum Award recipient, passed away on Sunday, June 18 in Akron, Ohio. He was 84.

A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in journalism, Tom also completed the Advanced Management Program in Business from The Ohio State University. He began his public relations career in 1955 as an advertising and publicity assistant at the Ohio Edison Company in Akron.

Tom was a man of “firsts.” He established the first community relations program for the Cooper-Bessemer Corporation and was the first Community and Public Affairs Manager at B.F. Goodrich before moving to the agency side, establishing the first public relations function for the Urda Company. After moving to Greenville, S.C. in the mid-1990s, Tom was the first Director of Public Relations at Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions (now Jackson Marketing, Motorsports & Events). He built a successful division that won the Michelin account, and he later served the agency as Senior Public Relations Counselor.

Following his retirement in 2007, he returned to Akron and went back to work, opening his own consulting practice and working as Director-Communications for Akron SCORE, an organization mostly comprised of retired senior managers and executives that consults with existing and start-up businesses to help create jobs and improve the economy.

His leadership in PRSA was exemplary. He was the founding president of the Akron Area Chapter in 1968 and 1969, having spun it off from the Cleveland Chapter. After he returned to Akron, he served as president again in 2010. He also was president of the South Carolina Chapter. In recognition of his service, Akron made him a life member in 1994 and South Carolina followed suit in 2005.

In 2003, Tom was named the Distinguished Public Relations Practitioner in South Carolina and the chapter renamed the award for him in 2007. He received the Lighthouse Award from the Cleveland Chapter for lifetime achievement in 2012 and the East Central PRSA District lifetime achievement award in 2013. He was a member of the PRSA National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards and served his Kent State alma mater as a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Kelly J. Wilson, APR, South Carolina Chapter president, who was the first recipient of the Tom Duke Award, said Tom “truly epitomized everything the award is designed to recognize, and it was an appropriate and enduring tribute to his service not only to our state and our chapter, but also to the public relations profession as a whole.”

Mary Eaddy, APR, Fellow PRSA, recalled that “Tom’s exemplary commitment to professional ethics set a high standard for all. He was an excellent communicator devoted to advancing the public relations profession.

One of Tom’s classmates in 1998 and past PRSA Chair, Gerry Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, said he was “a consummate professional and a shining example of paying it forward and giving back to the profession. His sage advice will be missed and also remembered for the wisdom it imparted to colleagues and aspiring pros.”

Tom served as a GoodFellow for Bill Gay, APR, Fellow PRSA, in 2014. “I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, but nevertheless he had a major impact on my career. Through his solid advice and encouragement, he helped me shape what began as a raw outline of a College of Fellows application into a package that resulted in my induction to the College. I will be forever grateful for his assistance.”

Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA and past PRSA Chair remembers Tom as a “passionate advocate for advancing our profession and our professionals. When I was national chair, we would talk regularly about his ideas for making PRSA of more value to our members. He loved being involved with PRSA on every level, attending conferences, mentoring others, leading chapters, serving nationally and demonstrating enormous pride in all we do. He will be greatly missed.”

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Juanita, five children, six grandchildren and other relatives and friends. The family suggests memorials be made to the Tom and Juanita Duke Endowed Scholarship in Public Relations, c/o Kent State University Foundation, Inc., P.O Box 5190, Kent, Ohio 44242-0001.

Condolences may be sent to Juanita Duke, 4169 Tomahawk Trace, Copley, Ohio 44321-2797.


Our New Fellows

Please join us in welcoming our six new members of PRSA’s College of Fellows (not in order below):

Mary J. Clark, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Leadership Consultant, Integrated Leadership Systems, Central Ohio Chapter

Dr. Deborah A. Davis, APR, ABC, Fellow PRSA, Assistant Professor, Ball State University, Hoosier Chapter

Mary T. Henige, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder and Chief Consultant, Magnetica Communications LLC, Detroit Chapter

Jeri Matheney, APR, Fellow PRSA, Communications Director, Appalachian Power, West Virginia Chapter

Robert F. Schultz, APR, Fellow PRSA, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Events, Downtown Indy, Inc., Hoosier Chapter

Jaron M. Terry, MS, APR, Fellow PRSA, President, Jaron Terry Communications Ltd., Central Ohio Chapter